A truly amazing story occurred this weekend. Referee George Beisheim suffered a heart attack while at the Hudson Valley Youthfest girls lacrosse tournament held at Suffern Middle School. As you’ll see, thanks to the quick and calm action of several spectators, and a little bit of luck, a man’s life was saved.
The one thing I gathered from reporting this story is how important being properly certified in simple medical practices is. If the people involved did not know how to go about things so quickly things could have ended tragically. It just goes to show you that all those classes coaches are required to take are far from a waste of time.
Here is my story.
Tragedy was averted at a local lacrosse tournament on Sunday thanks to the rapid reaction of several people in attendance.
Referee George Beisheim, a South Salem resident, was revived by North Rockland trainer Carol Guzinski, Dr. Jim O’Brien, a Queensbury resident, and Greg Walker, a Suffern girls youth lacrosse coach, after suffering a heart attack at the third annual Hudson Valley Youthfest girls lacrosse tournament held at Suffern Middle School.
“It went like it was supposed to,” said Guzinski, who teaches AED, CPR and first-aid certification classes. “There was no panic or indecision time. It worked right away. It wasn’t chaotic as a lot of rescues can be.”
Beisheim, 72, who officiated other games at the event, was standing at midfield watching a game when he suffered the heart attack.
Guzinski, who was standing with Suffern JV coach Mickey DeSimone about 50 yards away, rushed over and began CPR after checking Beisheim’s vitals.
“(Guzinski) handled it like a pro,” DeSimone said. “She was amazing. Not a hesitation, no emotion. Just got right into it.”
While Guzinski, a trainer at North Rockland for 23 years, performed CPR, several others reacted in ways that proved vital to saving Beisheim’s life.
Walker brought over an AED defibrillator while DeSimone asked if there was anyone in the crowd able to help. Dr. O’Brien, a cardiologist who was in attendance to watch his daughter play, came down to assist Guzinski.
After calling 911, Suffern varsity coach John Callanan and DeSimone, unlocked the gates surrounding the fields and instructed parents as to where to guide the emergency vehicles. Suffern’s groundskeeper, Mark Nevele, made sure there was clear path to the field.
“It was great coordination with a little bit of luck that saved a guy’s life,” Callanan said.
Beisheim’s faint pulse disappeared after less than a minute of CPR. The defibrillator was used once to restart Beisheim’s heart. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern.
“When I heard the doctor say we’ve got a strong pulse and you could see him breathing on his own, that was a great relief.” Walker said.
Beisheim was in the intensive care unit after undergoing open-heart surgery for five hours on Monday according to his sister, Susan, who was told by the medical staff that Beisheim was doing well.
“The stars were in the right location for this guy,” DeSimone said. “I just can’t believe everything went … that well. It’s almost an impossibility.”
The experience served as an example that the medical training they’ve received is well worth it.
“Sometimes you’re like, oh this is a pain in the neck,” said DeSimone of the certifications required for coaches. “I have a new view in terms of that prep and having the AED ready.”